The Relentless DM-er
He is cute, so are you. He is, perhaps, a barista by day and an actor by night, the freelance writer, the DJ. He will follow you on Twitter, you will follow him in turn, impressed and charmed by his Twitter biography, and more so, his profile picture. He will send you a DM, and then you will send him one too. In this way the two of you will go back and forth in delightful and witty banter. You will form a crush. He will casually ask when you will be in his city again. Soon, is all that you will say. You will check your phone more regularly, perhaps a bit neurotically even. You will giggle and blush at his 140-character one-liners. This will go on for weeks, and then months. You are a feminist, as the saying goes, and yet you will wait for him to ask for your number, hopefully even your email address. You will be in his city soon, you mention this, and he will respond with a link to a freshly discovered song. You are so bold as to add your number. Courage soon reeks of desperation. You will leave his city and the DM-ing will then commence. He will express his regret for not meeting you, this time. You express your regret (to yourself, of course) for exceeding what your data plan permits. You have formed a relationship with 140 characters at a time, and that is rather pathetic. He will not take it offline, and so you must pull the plug.
The Photographer follows you in Instagram. You are enamored by his talent; he thinks you are cute (this cuteness will often prove detrimental rather than beneficial in the phenomenon known as The Internet). Periodically, one does not have to be enamored by the talent or even return a follow on Instagram, but know that if you are a woman on Instagram, The Photographer is sure to follow. He will leave comments below your PG-13 #selfies, offering to shoot you, or to hit him up whenever you are in his city, because he would love to shoot you. Be wary of men who offer to shoot you; be wary of men who would love to shoot you. One man’s friend follow on Instagram is another man’s extra hide in the winter.
The Relentless Commenter
Unlike the Relentless DM-er, the Relentless Commenter is not cute and you do not follow him. He is not a writer or DJ or barista. He is, however, relentless in his commenting. He will comment on every alternative image posted on Instagram (he will never be so audacious as to comment on every consecutive image of yours; in that way he is respectful), his comments ranging from “Wow!” at a sunset, to “So pretty!!” at a #selfie, to asking “What is the name of this book?” when posting a picture of Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers (it is important to Instagram all works by Rachel Kushner). Often you will delete his comments in order to help him preserve his dignity, which is now in shambles. Mother once told you when you were eight that the best way to rid yourself of unwelcome characters was to ignore them, and soon they would tire and move on to their next prey. The Relentless Commenter is not going anywhere. He is the kind who Can’t Take A Hint. His counterpart exists on Twitter too, responding to carefully curated tweets with “lolz” and “me too ;)”, and may even inquire, “Why do you never reply?” It is in both yours and his best interest to Block Him.
The Unfollower-Refollower does not find you cute enough to follow you continuously for all eternity, alternatively, he may find you so cute that he must unfollow you in order to gather his sanity before following you again. But let us not be so naïve as to believe either of these explanations. The motive of the Unfollower-Refollower is clearer than the glass of your mason jar: he unfollows you and then follows you again because he wants to be seen by you. That is, he believes that by unfollowing and re-following you on a weekly basis you will soon succumb/get sick of/give up and just follow him back to save yourself the mental stress of a fluctuating follower count. However, he does not know that you could not give a single fuck.
The Social Media Marvel
He is a marvel because he is marvelous, and/or because he is a social media marvel. To the Social Media Marvel, all digital courtship is in moderation. He is cute, you are too – this is already a given. He will offer a reply or two, before courteously moving a looming flirtation over to a DM or twelve. An exchange of numbers will shortly follow, because the Social Media Marvel(ous) knows the importance of IRL. You will have a conversation or few. You will meet, because it would be egregious to mankind if two people as cute as you two did not be. Perhaps maybe who knows you’ll have sex. That will be rather marvelous, too. Where the Relentless DMer does not, the Social Media Marvel knows exactly when to take it offline.